Blog Entry

Big East plotting football, hoops divisions

Posted on: October 11, 2011 1:50 pm

Officials from what’s left of the Big East’s dwindling football membership had another conference call on Tuesday morning and there remains no specific timetable on adding UCF, but “appears an invitation is forthcoming” for the Knights, the league’s No. 1 target.

The presidents, chancellors and athletic directors continued to discuss potential expansion candidates. Among those mentioned were UCF, Air Force, Navy, Temple, Houston, SMU and Boise State, a league source told

While Commissioner John Marinatto said in a statement Monday the league would consider a model with 12 football members, part of Tuesday’s call was discussing the possibility of splitting the football and basketball conference into divisions, once the football side is replenished.

Navy, Air Force and Boise State are being considered as football members only, while UCF, Temple, Houston and SMU are at the top of the list as all-sports members so it’s unknown right now how large the basketball membership could grow.

The Newark Star-Ledger reported one proposed alignment discussed at Tuesday’s meeting consisted of Rutgers, UConn, South Florida, UCF, Temple and Navy in an East Division with West Virginia, Louisville, Cincinnati, Air Force, SMU and Houston in a West Division.

However, there remains the very real possibility Louisville and West Virginia may not be in the league and bound for the Big 12 if Missouri leaves for the SEC or the Big 12 expands to 12 teams.

What make Temple, SMU and Houston attractive to the Big East, one source said, is their respective television markets. Philadelphia (Temple) is the nation’s No. 4 market, Dallas (SMU) is No. 5 and Houston is No. 10.

Beyond Navy, Air Force and UCF, a league source said “no one team is definitely next” as an expansion candidate.

There also appears to be conflicting opinions on pursuing Boise State. Some league members support adding Boise State because of the Broncos’ recent success, which would help the league with its future BCS status. However, others believe Boise State, located nearly 700 miles west of Air Force and nearly 2,200 miles from Tampa/USF, is simply too far to consider.

Boise State president Bob Kustra said in a statement Monday that the Broncos “are looking forward to their inaugural season” in the Mountain West Conference and he “has great confidence in the future direction of the Mountain West.”

“While we are certainly flattered to be mentioned in connection with other conferences and we hold those leagues in high regard, our current focus is on continuing to build the outstanding athletic programs that have helped make Boise State a popular and compelling national brand," Kustra said.

“The landscape of college athletics is exceptionally fluid, and we are continuing to monitor the situation. We are confident that Boise State will be well positioned for future success, and we will evaluate our status with the best interests of the entire university in mind. Boise State’s athletic achievements, academic and research successes, popularity, and vision for future growth make the university an extremely valuable conference partner.”

A league source also told that Army is no longer being considered as a candidate by the Big East. “They’ve been honest with us and that they’re not interested because of the challenges they had previously in Conference USA,” the source said.

Army was in C-USA from 1998-2004. The Cadets were 9-41 in C-USA play and finished last in the league five of the seven seasons.


Since: Jan 29, 2008
Posted on: October 14, 2011 4:21 pm

Big East plotting football, hoops divisions

Something like that doesnt happen overnight. Sure you can build state of the art facilities in a few years. But building a program that could compete in the SEC would take a while.
I agree, but if the SEC or Big XII demands national power in all sports and top notch facilities for all sports to join, then they are going to be looking for a long time.  Missouri doesn't begin to fill that criteria.  Louisville has some.  How many other schools too have nationally ranked (and highly ranked) football, men's and women's basketball, and men's and women's soccer?  My overall point really, and you also stated similar too, this has nothing to do with athletics and facilities, if it did, WVU would have been invited a long time ago. 

Since: Oct 14, 2011
Posted on: October 14, 2011 4:08 pm

Big East plotting football, hoops divisions

The Big East is a founding member of the BCS.  Thee's nothing in the BCS agreement, rules, by-laws, etc, that allows for one of the founding members to be removed from AQ status.  I think the issue of the Big East keeping its' AQ status is a moot point.

Since: Oct 30, 2007
Posted on: October 14, 2011 2:43 pm

Big East plotting football, hoops divisions

Bernie-Agreed on baseball, subpar at best, but I think one that can easily turn around quickly.

Something like that doesnt happen overnight. Sure you can build state of the art facilities in a few years. But building a program that could compete in the SEC would take a while. South Carolina won back to back national championships and spent mad money on building a new stadium in the past few years. Getting WVU boosters to support a project like that and getting the fans support wouldnt be easy in a football driven school. Keep in mind that baseball is bigger than basketball for some SEC schools. The Big XII doesnt take baseball too lightly either.

Since: Oct 30, 2007
Posted on: October 14, 2011 12:35 pm

Big East plotting football, hoops divisions

I agree with your statement about out of state students. Half of the people I met there were from New Jersey and about 1/4 were from Ohio. The problem with that, like you said, is that they leave and go back home. Media Markets are determined geographically. I'm sure there are WVU fans and Pitt fans and LSU fans all over the country. But when you look at what is considered (By whom I dont know) the West Virginia media market it is sparse and pretty much limited to the actual state. The only school that has been able to overcome this is Notre Dame. For some reason, broacasting companies realize that Notre Dame has a following all over the country and they benefit from this while every other school is defined geographically. WVU is tied to the West Virginia Market. Pitt is tied to Western PA and Pittsburgh. Maryland has the Baltimore and DC market. etc. I can't explain Nebraska either. I guess it has something to do with the fans, tradition and their ability to travel. Good comparison though. WVU fans are as passionate as any. Much more than Pitt fans. When I was there I remember the first time I saw the RV's lining up 3 days before game day. The people were friendly and would feed us. It was a great experience. Nationally,WVU gets it's reputation from the state it represents. And thats probably unfortunate. If WVU has a different name and was located a mile into PA people would have an entirely different perspective of the University. The state of West Virginia just carries that stigma of backwoods country hillbillies. It's not all true but it's a reality the university has to face. I'm sure Mississippi has similar issues. You have to admit that the quality of education is a factor. The students that come from New Jersey, Ohio etc. mostly do so because they cant get into Princeton, Ohio State etc. I went there because my parents and siblings were Pitt alums and it was a way of rebelling. But after two years I realized it was in my best interest to transfer. I went to LSU because my degree would be "worth more" than one from WVU. Now that doesnt mean LSU is a much better school. It was no different and LSU isn't exactly Stanford either. Basically I think the problems WVU is having is based solely on perception and logistics. They certainly have a recent history of performing on the field and court.

Since: Jan 29, 2008
Posted on: October 13, 2011 1:29 pm

Big East plotting football, hoops divisions

Bernie-Agreed on baseball, subpar at best, but I think one that can easily turn around quickly.  I don't know what the future holds for our athletic department at this time, but it will be interesting.  Also, everyone keeps throwing out the media market arguement.  I don't think this holds water personally for two reasons.  One, the great state of Nebraska has fewer people than WV, yet that was no issue when NU was invited to the Big Ten.  Great fans at Nebraska, travel well to away games and bowl games, sound familiar?  Two, WVU is over half out of state students, and most spread out along the east coast after graduation, myself included.  There are more WVU grads in the NYC/NJ area than many other schools on the east coast, and that extends to DC as well.  Do we own the market?  No, but what school does?  These are the things that make me wonder what is really going on with all of this.

Since: Sep 22, 2011
Posted on: October 13, 2011 1:27 pm

Big East plotting football, hoops divisions

True but name me another school that could be added that could potentially save the Big East's AQ status.

Since: Oct 30, 2007
Posted on: October 13, 2011 12:04 pm

Big East plotting football, hoops divisions

but I would put WVU's facilities up against any in the country. 
The football and basketball facilities are decent. My comment was in relation to baseball. In the SEC baseball is huge. I feel that the main reason the SEC passed on WVU is that the baseball program and facilities are sub-par. WVU would be highly competitive in Basketball (last season) and would be average in football (this season). But baseball, not so much.

Most of the upgrades have been completed after I left. But I was back in Morgantown for the LSU (alma mater) game this year. I've seen some positive changes. WVU is headed in the right direction. Unfortunately the media market will always be an Achilles heel.

Since: Jun 30, 2011
Posted on: October 13, 2011 11:12 am

Big East plotting football, hoops divisions

Boise State in the big east???? Come on......getting a little rediculous with the geographics here....

Since: Dec 4, 2010
Posted on: October 13, 2011 10:44 am

Big East plotting football, hoops divisions

Conspiracy theorists would say (and I am one of them) that ESPN will have the final say on who is in and who is out in the Big Least Conference. The bullies at ESPN now have plenty of schools to banish to their lame Thursday night schedule.

Since: Jan 29, 2008
Posted on: October 13, 2011 10:42 am

Big East plotting football, hoops divisions

Bernie-I notice you keep remarking on WVU's inferior facilities.  I respect your opinions on other matters, and I think your viewpoints are fair and level headed. But, WVU's facilities are always mentioned as some of the best in the country.  I know for a fact that some other high profile schools have come to WVU to tour our facilities when looking to upgrade theirs.  I was witness to the tours when working in the AD's office while in school.  We have upgraded the football stadium in recent years to close the endzones and it came out beautifully, added the indoor practice fields for football, added the suites, upgraded the basketball arena, are set to open a beautiful new basketball practice facility.  Our soccer stadium is an awesome venue just recently completed in the last few years and both our teams are ranked.  Do others need attention?  Absolutely, but this was one area I felt you were incorrect on.  Like I said, you are entitled to your opinion, and maybe when you were in Morgantown it was prior to these updates, but I would put WVU's facilities up against any in the country.  One last point, when RR went to Michigan, he was apalled at the strength and conditioning facilities and spent over $1MM to upgrade them.  I personally know one of the trainers involved with this, so please, nobody call BS, it is fact.

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